From Rossio to Sintra
Not that I wanted to part with Lisbon after spending only two days there but Sintra with its famous palaces, majestic mountains and great views of the Atlantic Ocean was also a part of my travel plans.
It is very easy to get to Sintra from Lisbon. There is a direct train from Rossio running frequently and the journey takes approximately 40 minutes. The station was literally round the corner from where I was staying. I had enough time in the morning to grab a coffee and something to eat. Although I am not a big fan of orange juice, a freshly squeezed one served at many cafes around Lisbon as a part of a breakfast menu was incredible. Who knows maybe some extra time in Portugal and I would develop a taste for it?
Like Out of a Fairytale
Once I got to the historic part of town, which is 10 minutes away from the train station, one of the landmarks, the Sintra National Palace was in front of my eyes. It combines different architectural styles. It’s fairly striking and eclectic. After some time though it is possible to notice that it is not an isolated case. The villas and houses in Sintra are even a bit extravagant.
It is important to mention that Sintra became the first centre of European Romantic architecture thanks to Ferdinand II. He turned a ruined monastery into a palace where this approach was represented in the use of Gothic, Egyptian, Moorish and Renaissance elements and features.
Although I only had a quick look around the historic centre I could see that it is full of restaurants and shops aimed at the crowds of tourists. My heart was set on hiking all the way to up the Pena National Palace so I did not want to waste any time on these type of “attractions”.
If you are more into minimalism the Pena National Palace might not be to your taste. I would still encourage you to see it though and stroll through the park around it. A variety of local and exotic species of trees in it is truly impressive. I really enjoyed the hike and the views from the top were incredible. Ah.. but this is me, more suited to walking up steep hills than the palace life.